GROVE — Unable to catch lightning in a bottle for a second straight week, Miami closed out the 2017 football season with a 55-28 Rotary Bowl loss to Grove here Friday, Nov. 3.
The loss was the ninth in 10 games during head coach Andrew Rice’s first season with the Wardogs.
They had rolled to a 42-19 win over Vinita on Oct. 27 and Grove entered the game winless.
The 28 points were the third most the Dogs have had in a game this season.
Senior quarterback Davis Dills dinged the Wardogs for six of the Ridgerunners’ seven touchdowns.
He had TD runs of 48, 52, 11 and 10 yards and threw for another two scores.
Grove got the game’s first points on Dill’s 48-yard run and the PAT kick by Toby Cearley.
The Wardogs responded with a 55-yard pass from Gavin Payton to Lane Giles just 48 seconds later.
The extra point was blocked, leaving Grove with a 7-6 advantage.
The Ridgerunners broke the game open with four touchdowns in the span of 5:46 in the second quarter.
Caden Folks scored with 52 seconds remaining in the half to help narrow the gap to 34-14.
Grove came back with another scoring burst in the third, getting three scores in 5:15.
The Wardogs got the final two scores in the fourth quarter, including a 75-yard strike from Payton to Isaac Lacy — the 12th longest in school history.
Payton also had a 1-yard run midway through the final stanza.
Payton was 7 of 23 passing for 159 yards, with one interception and two touchdowns.
Giles accounted for four of the completions for 79 yards.
The Wardogs had 142 yards rushing, with Folks netting a team-high 86 yards on 16 carries.
The 481 points allowed are the second most in school history. Miami yielded 517 in 2016.